No Tribunal Fees - What Next?
Following on from our article in September, "Fees were illegal - what now?" Straight Solutions has taken a look at what will happen next.
It's now been over two months since The Supreme Court ruled that employment tribunal fees were unlawful and we have seen informal reports from Employment Judges stating that they have seen a 2 to 7 - fold increase (depending on region) in claims over the months following the court ruling but many of these newly reported claims relate to wages claims, which should not progress further.
What will happen next?
There is a range of possibilities:
- A new scheme enabling past claims to be resurrected. Will the Employment Tribunal notify past claimants or will they leave it to individuals to resurrect past claims themselves? The BBC reported in July that "...the government will now have to repay up to £32m to claimants." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40727400. At some point any new scheme will need to deal with these reimbursements.
- Will we see new fees introduced in order to keep claims rising again? It's unlikely that a new fees scheme will be able to address the discrimination issues highlighted by the recent Supreme Court ruling so we predict this will not happen in the near future.
- An unintended consequence of these changes is likely to be that Tribunal hearings are lengthened due to a lack of judges. The reduction in cases since the introduction of fees in 2013 has meant that Judge numbers have dropped and so it's highly likely that it could take up to a year for new claims to get a full hearing.
At Straight Solutions we think it is inevitable that we will see a rise in claims from unhappy employees aiming to obtain a financial settlement from their employers.
With this in mind it's time to make sure that your business clients have the insurance cover to deal with an employment dispute. Straight Solutions offers a range of retainer based insurance products that can be tailored to suit your clients' individual requirements. Our employment insurance allows you to look after your clients' daily requirements for advice and 'pastoral care' paid for by your retainer, then if they have issues that qualify as potential claims, the insurance indemnity takes over paying for your representation and awards for compensation made against the client.